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  • THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI BULLETIN VOLUME 20 NUMBER 9

    JOURNALISM SERIES, No. 18 ROBERT S. MANN, EDITOR

    THE MISSOURI INTELLIGENCER and

    BOON'S LICK ADVERTISER

    A Brief History of the First American N ewspaper West of St. Louis

    By E. W. STEPHENS, LL. D.

    ISSUED THREE TIMES MONTHLY; ENTERED AS SECONDCLASS MAT. TER AT THE POSTOFFICE AT COLUMBIA, MISSOURI-I,SOO

    MAY, 1919

  • PREFACE

    This bulletin, issued in the tenth annual Journalism Week at the University of Missouri, is published in connection with the celebration by the Missouri Press Association of the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Missouri Intelli-gencer and Boon's Lick Advertiser, the first American newt>-paper west of St. Louis, whose first number was issued on April 23, 1819. The author, E. W. Stephens of Columbia, Mo., is past president of the Missouri Press Association, and chair-man of a special committee named by the association to arrange a centennial celebration commemorating the establishment of this pioneer Missouri newspaper. Mr. Stephens was graduated from the University of Missouri in 1867 and received the hon-orary degree of LL.D. in 1905.

    In preparing this brief history, in which he has confined himself to the period in which the paper bore the name, the }.,Essouri Intelligencer and Boon's Lick Advertiser, the author desires to give due credit for valuable information obtained from the "History of Boone County," by Colonel William F. Switzler, and from liN athaniel Patten," a bulletin issued by Prof. F. F. Stephens of the history department of the Uni-versity of Missouri; also to Mrs. Anna B. Korn of El Reno, Okla., and to Floyd C. Shoemaker, secretary of the State His-torical Society of Missouri.

    The files of the Missouri Intelligencer and Boon's Lick Advertiser, from its first to its final number, are to be found in the library of the State Historical Society of Missouri in Columbia; So valuable were these files that the society pro-tected the pages of each issue by a Japanese silk covering which does not obscure the reading matter but which makes the paper impervious to wear or water. This was the first newspaper in the United States to be so preserved.

    (3)

  • 4 UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI BULLETIN

    '...,---....----------I soo fee/west aC this spot I i> the sile wher" .t..,,, tho build'~

    .1 '" FRANKLIN :="- inwhicbwa!> published

    TIlE: MI~OURI INTELLIGE:NCER ana

    BOON'S LICK ADVERTISER

    "~th""i.~fatten lsi Benjamin Hollid~'1

    Th. flr~t number WM i,.uoa J\.pril Z3.1S19

    ltwa.. tM I\m' t\hN'fP"}"4T '}3"int .;a tJ\ H.i~~IO)\j,Ti. Wfl4.t of St.l ... ovi~

    a:nd. wu !1.U$ou'l'{; pi.oheeT Cou'n.-t:l"''( Newspa.per-This monummt

    wa .. reetea anI. aeale_lea l>~ the MISSOURI PRESS AS5OClATION

    May 9.1919

    This monU1Il.ent, the purpose of which is stated in the inscription upon it, has been erected at Kingsbury Station near the track of the Mis-souri, Kansas & Texas Railroad, about one thousand feet from the north end of the bridge across the Missouri River at Boonville. It is paid for by personal contributions of members of the Missouri Press Association. The architect is Mr. Egerton Swartwout of New York City, who was the architect of the Missouri State Capitol. He gen-erously made no charge for his architectural services in designing and preparing the plans and specifications for the monument.

  • THE MISSOURI INTELLIGENCER and

    BOON'S LICK ADVERTISER

    No period of Missouri's history is more intensely interest-. ing than the story of the two decades covering the early settle-ment of the Boon's Lick country. From 1806, when Nathan and Daniel Boone, sons of Danie} Boone, and possibly the elder Daniel, himself, started the manufacture of salt at the licks in Howard County opposite Arrow: Rock and the shipping of it down the Missouri River in keel boats, to 1826, when the Mis-souri Intelligencer was removed from Franklin to Fayette, and Franklin, the magic city of the wilderness, began to yield to the encroachments of the Missouri River, and after ten years of brilliant history had to fade under the shifting tides of a fickle emigration-this was an era of pioneer settlement and hardship, of chivalry and adventure, of suffering and achieve-ment, the parallel to which is hardly to be found in the history of any state.

    The War of Independence had ended less than twenty-five years before, and the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition had been but three years past, when the bold-est and hardiest spirits of Virginia and Kentucky and Tennessee and the Carolinas, the flower of the civilization that had won freedom to the Republic, began to pour into this western E1 Dorado; lured by the stories of its great rivers, its noble for-ests, its broad prairies and its exhaustless resources.

    The Coopers, Benjamin and Sarshall and Braxton, with other emigrants, came first in 1810, and settled upon the fertile bottoms opposite Boonville. In 1811 the war broke out with the Indians, and the settlers were driven into forts, of which there were some six or seven, all along from the Moniteau to a point opposite the present site of Arrow Rock. The story of these forts, Cooper, Hempstead, McClain, Kincaid, McMahon, Arnold and Head, and perhaps others; and the experiences of

    (5)

  • 6 UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI BULLETIN

    their inmates during the four years of war with the savages is a tale of suffering, heroism and romance that would fill a volume and must forever illumine the pioneer history of Mis-souri.

    Peace having been declared in 1815, the tide of emigration flowed in a steady and ceaseless stream. The Boon's Lick trail was blazed, and such was the influx of emigrants that in 1816 Howard County, extending from St. Charles to the western boundary of the state, one-third the present size of Missouri, was organized. A town was laid out upon the Missouri River opposite the present site of Boonville and called Franklin.

    The story of Franklin reads like fiction. Within four years it had .a population of from 1,200 to 1,500. It had a public square of two acres and streets eighty-seven feet wide. It contained between two hundred and three hundred buildings, among which were five stores, a tobacco factory, two acade-mies, a carding machine, a market house, several churches, four warehouses, a jail and a public library.

    Its most notable feature was its popUlation. In culture and ability and public spirit it was distinguished above any other community of its size that has existed in this state. Lawyers, scholars, physicians, educators, business men, artists, artisans of the highest class, many of whom have afterward become emi-nent in public life in this and other states, were among its citi-zenship in large numbers, while those who engaged in farming pursuits in the immediate vicinity were no less notable.

    The fertility of the soil, as described by the historians of that period, surpasses belief. Near by, one Thomas Hardeman laid out a flower and vegetable garden, which in luxuriance and beauty rivaled the most noted in this or other lands.

    Franklin was an ambitious and formidable rival of St. Louis. When the capital of -the new state was located, Franklin was a strong candidate for that honor, being one of the three or four competitors. It was the seat of government of Howard County from the county's organization in 1816 until the seat was removed to Fayette in 1826.

  • TIrE MISSOURI TNTELUGENCER 7

    The first page of the initial issue of the Missouri Intelligencer a,nq Boon's Lick Advertiser, April 23, 1819. -

  • 8 UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI BULLETIN

    A Ramage hand printing press, similar to that upon which Benjamin Holliday and Nathaniel Patten "jerked off" the 100 to 400 copies of the Intelligencer which they printed each week. The press illustrated here is on exhibition at the School of Journal-ism of the University of Missouri. It was built in 1796.

  • THE MISSOURI INTELLIGENCER 9

    Such was the town to which Benjamin Holliday brought a Ramage printing press and less than five hundred pounds 6f type with which to start a newspaper in the spring of 1819. Holliday had come to the Boon's Lick country with the Coopers in 1810 and had been an inmate of Cooper's fort during the war. He afterward went to Kentucky. While there he bought the newspaper outfit in Louisville, and with his brother, Stephen Holliday, who was a printer, brought it to Franklin. There upon lot No. 49, which he had bought of Abraham Barns, he erected a frame building and in it he installed his plant. This lot was located 500 feet west of the present line of the M. K& T. Railroad and about 1500 feet north of the north bank of the Missouri River at this time (1919).

    In 1818 there came to Franklin Nathaniel Patten. He was a native of Roxbury, Mass., born in 1793. With his family he had come to Mount Sterling, Ky., in 1812, where he had sep-arated from them and, probably obsessed with the prevalent passion for the West, had gone alone in 1818 to Franklin. He was a bachelor, 25 years old, very deaf, of delicate mould, small of stature, well educated, of quiet nature, of pure morals, conservative, of high ideals, industrious and tenacious in pur-pose. He had had some experience in the printing business. He was a practical printer and the newspaper business appealed to him. Whether Holliday's purchase of the plant had been at Patten's instance or whether there had been any previous un-derstanding between them is not known. But Patten entered into partnership with Holliday and together they issued the first copy of the newspaper in Franklin on April 23, 1819, and called it the Missouri Intelligencer and Boon's Lick Advertiser.

    The paper w